These top tips are informed by health and care leaders across the country, and colleagues at the Local Government Association, to help leaders embed collaborative ways of working throughout the integrated care partnerships (ICP) and to serve as a useful guide for engaging with partners in developing the integrated care strategy.
Agree a shared vision
- Bring partners together early on to agree the terms of reference, identifying values, behaviours and goals that everyone can get behind.
- Ensure everyone is clear about the value of the work they are doing, the benefits of the vision and how each organisation will contribute to it.
Co-production and including people with lived experience
Involve carers, families, citizens and people with lived experience in the development of strategies and priorities. Ensure people have the opportunity to have their voice heard and consider what training or resources you can provide to make the process as accessible as possible.
Maintain a single, shared evidence or information base that can be contributed to and accessed by both NHS and local government colleagues.
Ensure ICPs have co-owned resources, authority and skill to be effective across both the NHS and local government.
Keep communication open
- Be proactive in engaging partners in conversations as early as possible and invite people to share their opinions or concerns. Make it clear that communication is a two-way process – as much about receiving and listening as it is about transmitting and telling. This will ensure work is truly co-produced.
- Adopt a ‘you said, we did’ approach to demonstrate that people’s views have an impact on ICP strategy and priorities.
- Provide progress updates when key milestones are reached to keep momentum moving forwards.
Develop agendas and materials together
- Codesign meeting agendas and sign off materials well in advance to ensure partners can feed into the process. Again, be specific about who those partners are.
- Develop minutes and communications to be shared more widely by partners within their own organisations, using inclusive language and avoiding acronyms that others may not be familiar with.
- Promote communications to the group using all relevant platforms and forums at your disposal. This will help to ensure as wide an audience as possible is reached and kept informed.
- Use ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’ when speaking about the ICP and in all written communications, to affirm the importance of collaboration and joint working.
- Be specific about who ‘us’ is; is it local government and the NHS, or does it involve partners from the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector, adult social care and wider partners, and people with lived experience? This will help to encourage a ‘system first’ culture.
- Clear and inclusive leaders are required to build enthusiasm, achieve buy in and communicate the vision, embodying the principles of their work, in order to keep partners aligned.
- Appoint leaders who champion your values, listen and learn from others and are passionate about the opportunities of joint working to improve health and care services, improve population health outcomes and address health inequalities.